Americans are overwhelmingly polarized over ongoing presidential election campaigns. The choice is going to be between Donald Trump – an oligarch accused of disregarding the interests of minorities, and Hillary Clinton – an utterly disgraced public servant too unqualified and incompetent to even serve at the lowest possible grade in the US State Department. But, between the two, one has already clearly […]
I want to commentate a little here, to offer my thoughts on Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet over Syria.
The jet downing highlights the problem that Turkey sees ISIL almost as an ally rather than an enemy. Turkish officials are on record saying America’s allies in Syria – the Kurds – are a bigger threat a higher priority target for their forces than ISIL. This puts Turkey in direct conflict with the US.
Unfortunately, Turkey’s membership in NATO complicates the possibility of a correct US response to Turkey’s repeated policy of stabbing all its closest allies and friends in the back in the fight against ISIL. Russia is not bound by any treaty obligations to support Turkey, and so Russia can be more honest about what Turkey is doing.
NATO is a trap for its own members, committing them to almost untenable policy positions and erratic geopolitical games that run contrary to their own national interests. The Eastern European countries gain nothing from membership in NATO and the Western European countries gain nothing from having them as members in NATO. By being in NATO, those countries make themselves targets of Russian missiles where they would otherwise have been ignored. Their membership also pushes Western European countries to protect small states that have no relevance whatsoever to their own security.
Overstretching empty commitments to defend small states against possible invasions was one of the causes of both World Wars. Ridiculous, complicated alliances and attempts by states to support terrorists on the other side of the border were additional reasons for the outbreak of major wars in Europe.
Turkey has been obsessively calling on NATO in recent years, as if it is trying to lead the alliance to serve its own interests. However, the “Neo-Ottoman Empire” policy goals of Edrogan’s regime have no relationship to Atlanticism and the liberal democratic ideology advanced by NATO. NATO will not carve out a new Ottoman Empire in Syria and Iraq for Erdogan’s Turkey. That just isn’t what NATO is for.
If Turkey were not in NATO, it today would be designated as an enemy of that alliance for its repeated aggression and support for terrorism, just as it is sliding towards being designated as an enemy of Russia. Because it is in NATO, it enjoys a parade of apologists including the NATO Secretary General.
Many have already called for Turkey to be thrown out of NATO. Perhaps this isn’t such a bad idea.